Alcohol dependence and alcohol addiction can severely ruin someone’s life as well as the relationships that they share with other people. In some cases the withdrawal and detox symptoms of alcohol can be just as physically and psychologically demanding as any other serious drug. In some cases they can even be worse with strong cautions being advised to individuals that have been dependent on alcohol for many years to seek out medically assisted withdrawal treatments in managing withdrawal and detox symptoms.
When alcohol withdrawal is done in the home without any type of medical attention this can lead to inherent risks. If a person has been dependent on alcohol over many years this could potentially even lead to fatal circumstances due to the extensive amount of trauma that can be placed on the body throughout the detox process.
The first step to withdrawal and detox from alcohol is commitment and deciding to get off alcohol and putting a life back on track. The detox process can be one of the most physically demanding withdrawal symptoms but if someone within alcohol use disorder is truly ready to enter into rehabilitation and start a sober living commitment, they can have success especially with help from mental health practitioners and medical professionals.
When a person has entered a state of alcohol dependence their body may start to experience a number of different withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is no longer present in their system. Withdrawal begins to occur in a person who is physically or psychologically dependent on alcohol because their body and brain have become dependent on the physical changes that alcohol plays on neurotransmitters. If a person has been regularly drinking over a period of years or heavily drinking the body may begin to show the signs of withdrawal as neurotransmitters are forced to go without the influence of alcohol.
Withdrawal begins as both a physically and psychologically uncomfortable experience in many cases the central nervous system and the brain can become reliant on alcohol for the relaxation of receptors in the brain using GABA and dopamine. When these receptors become used to living in a euphoric or activated state they will eventually take this as the brain state of equilibrium and crave alcohol as soon as it is taken away. Continued use about call can cause a GABA imbalance ensuring that the brain will only naturally produce a limited amount of GABA and dopamine because of the alcohol consumption. This is where tolerance begins and where an individual can start to experience withdrawal symptoms as soon as they stop drinking alcohol.
Some of the earliest symptoms of withdrawal can include differences in heart rate, confusion, anxiety, restlessness, extreme headaches an increased risk for seizures and more.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is also commonly affected through regular alcohol use. Dopamine is responsible for regulating our energy, motivation, enjoyment and for other types of rewards throughout the body. When alcohol releases dopamine it’s possible that the body begins to build up tolerances and a greater dependence on alcohol in order to create dopamine. When a person stops drinking alcohol the production of dopamine can seize quite quickly and this can cause a number of symptoms of withdrawal which include:
Some individuals can experience these types of symptoms as well as more severe symptoms like the delirium tremens. Delirium tremens include altered mental functions, the chance for extremely deep sleep, seizures, sudden mood changes, extreme fear and anxiety and more. These types of symptoms can sometimes lead to severe health effects like major seizures, heart attacks and more. Monitoring for some of these more severe symptoms is exactly why alcohol withdrawal under medical supervision is recommended.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms generally begin within three different stages. The first of alcohol withdrawal symptoms will happen in the minor stage which begins with headaches, nausea and potentially slight tremors. This can start between 6 to 12 hours after a person has had their last drink. The time will generally very based off of the length of time that a person has been drinking in their dependency on alcohol.
The moderate side effects of withdrawal begin between 12 to 24 hours and these can include confusion, fever, vomiting, sweating and more.
The severe withdrawal symptoms often come between 48 and 72 hours after alcohol use. This is usually when withdrawal symptoms peak and is generally one of the most difficult times for a person experiencing alcohol withdrawal. This is also the period at which the delirium tremens will potentially occur. It’s estimated that only around 5% of individuals will experience these symptoms but the mortality rate for those in delirium tremens can be as high as 15%. Most undergoing severe withdrawal symptoms will experience ongoing changes with heart rate, nausea, headaches, sweating, mood swings and the symptoms of extreme flu. These types of symptoms can persist for at least seven days to potentially weeks after a person has completed their full detox from alcohol.
The severity of withdrawal symptoms for each person can depend on many different types of variables. Generally alcohol withdrawal is dictated by the amount of time that a person was abusing to call, the total quantity of alcohol that they were consuming, how frequently they were drinking their history with addiction and substances, other medications they may been taking, their metabolism, their size weight and age as well as history of family addiction.
It’s extremely difficult to know the exact chance for withdrawal symptoms in every individual the Pentagon alcohol. One of the best ways to avoid the chance of alcohol withdrawal symptoms is to simply abstain or avoid drinking alcohol in excess. Remember that anyone is at risk of becoming alcohol dependent.
In most cases the process of alcohol withdrawal will follow a relatively straightforward timeline. Although alcohol withdrawal is fairly different for every individual that goes through the process in most cases the physical symptoms will be completed within the first week. For those with a minor alcohol addiction, alcohol withdrawal symptoms can sometimes be over within the first few days. For other individuals they can continue to feel physical withdrawal symptoms for months after they complete their alcohol detox program.
One thing is for sure alcohol withdrawal does require ongoing support from mental health professionals. The chance of relapse without any type of program or support network increases exponentially. Working through both the psychological dependence and the physical dependence on alcohol well to prevent relapse and ensure that a person can continue to live their life without the use of alcohol.
Most rehabilitation programs last anywhere between a few days to a week but seeking out some type of mental health program or 12 step program is essential to maintaining the results. If a person has been dependent on alcohol over many years, even just a simple sip of alcohol or a lapse in judgment could be enough to help them relive their dependence or start the cycle over again.